Rachel tries to be devoted to her fundamentalist Christian church, but she’s finding it increasingly challenging.
Her large family belongs to a Quiverfull-movement church that emphasizes female submissiveness, modest clothing, no birth control, and a rigid interpretation of the Bible. She’s been kept isolated from the world but uses a computer to manage her father’s business as she reluctantly awaits her own future husband and numerous children. She’s naturally inquisitive, and that leads her to discover the blog of escaped church member Lauren, whose pithy commentary on the religion’s abuse helps Rachel re-evaluate her own situation. Her forbidden computer explorations exposed, Rachel’s threatened with the punishment of a harsh church camp used to brainwash straying teens. Her believable first-person narrative, which chronicles the navigation of her complex emotions of fear, longing, and tender love for God and her family, is both engaging and deeply moving. Her eventual escape attempt is inevitable, and her encounters with the outside world are sympathetically drawn as is her life within the church. If some elements of the plot seem too easy, they do not mitigate the effectiveness of Rachel’s tale.
An engaging, illuminating, but never sensationalized portrayal of one plucky teen’s self-discovery and pulling away from a controlling, restrictive (and real) religious movement. (Fiction. 11-16)